Hello Rootabaga Subscribers,
Welcome to the first produce bag of 2023! After a great holiday break for the Uprooted team, we are so excited to get back to providing local and seasonal produce for our community. I always try to give the produce bags something green, something starchy, and a fruit. The rest is decided based on what was given in last week’s share, cost effectiveness (i.e. more bang for your buck!) and what is available this time of year. I also draw inspiration from a yummy recipe that can provide some ideas for what to do with your produce. This week it’s a long time favourite recipe, African Peanut Stew. Before we get into the recipe I’ll tell you what’s in the small share this week:
Kale – Elmridge Farm, spray-free
Sweet Potatoes – Elmridge Farm, spray-free
Rainbow Carrots – Elmridge Farm, spray-free
Leeks – Elmridge Farm, spray-free
Ambrosia Apples – Noggins Corner Farm, conventionally grown
Butternut Squash – Noggins Corner Farm, conventionally grown
Pea Shoots – Certified Organic, Taproot Farm
The large produce share has all of the above, and:
Red Cabbage – Certified Organic, Taproot Farm
Larger shares of leeks, kale, sweet potatoes, and apples.
As mentioned, this week’s subscription has the produce needed to make African Peanut Stew. Now that it’s 2023 I think I can say I’ve been making this for over 10 years! It has all the qualities you want in a good meal: it’s simple, ultra-comforting, and body-nourishing. The recipe is from the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon. I follow the recipe almost as is but have made some adjustments to incorporate seasonal offerings.
This meal is on regular rotation in our house. I often cook a double batch and save the leftovers for lunches throughout the week or I’ll freeze individual portions for when I need a quick meal. If you make it, please let me know! I’d love to hear what you think.
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper *see note
- 1 jalapeno, diced (optional)
- 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices
- Salt and pepper
- ⅓ cup Naturally Nutty Organic Peanut Butter, or natural peanut butter of choice!
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (can also use Speerville dry chickpeas and cook before adding them to the stew)
- 2 big handfuls of destemmed and torn kale leaves
- Fresh cilantro or parsley leaves (optional), for serving
- Roasted peanuts, for serving
- *the original recipe calls for bell pepper, but depending on what is in season I’ve made this stew with 1 cup of cabbage, chopped carrots, or sliced leeks. Use what you have!
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
- Add the bell pepper (or substituted vegetable), jalapeno (if using), sweet potato, and tomatoes with their juices. Raise the heat to medium-high and simmer for 5 minutes more. Season the vegetables with salt and black pepper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter (ensure you use natural peanut butter, i.e. peanuts are the only ingredients, or the flavour will be off) and 1 cup of the vegetable broth until no clumps remain. Stir the mixture into the vegetables along with the remaining 3 cups of vegetable broth and chili powder.
- Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10-20 minutes, or until the sweet potato is fork-tender.
- Stir in the chickpeas and kale and stir a minute or two more until the kale is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I’ve also tried this recipe with pea shoots roughly chopped and added fresh to each bowl instead of stirring kale throughout. The flavour works wonderfully!
- Garnish individual bowls of stew with cilantro or parsley and roasted peanuts. Cilantro is definitely my preference, but when fresh herbs aren’t readily available I’ve made it without and it's plenty delicious as is too!
This week I’d also like to try this (https://ournourishingtable.com/butternut-squash-quinoa-salad-recipe/) recipe for Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad. Warm salads with potatoes, beets, or squash are great staples in the winter. I often use Speerville millet instead of quinoa for a locally grown and organic option. I’ll also use Ran-Cher Acres Goat Cheese and substitute kale for the arugula! I like the sound of pomegranate in this salad, but I think a finely diced ambrosia apple would work well too.
Speaking of ambrosia apples, I’ve been loving sautéed apples with breakfast or as a healthy dessert. I add a little bit of butter to a frying pan, add a chopped apple, some cinnamon, and cook the apples until they just begin to soften. These make a great breakfast topping for oatmeal or pancakes, a midday snack with some yogurt, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds, or a sweet treat with some vanilla ice cream. Ambrosia apples are perfect for frying without any added sugar since they are naturally sweet.
Lastly, I know I’ll be prepping some carrot sticks for snacks and lunches. I learned from working in restaurants that if you cut your carrot sticks ahead of time, but store them in water they won’t dry out in the fridge. To save time in a busy week I will cut a large container worth of carrots so that I can quickly grab a handful to go with lunch, have ready to cook as a quick weekday dinner side, or have as a snack with my go to Carmelized Onion Dip. It’s similar to hummus but with a twist. Start with frying an onion in olive oil over medium-low heat until caramelized. Then blend or food process a can of drained and rinsed white beans, add the cooked onion, salt, pepper, some olive oil and optional tahini. Blend until smooth and use as a dip for crackers or veggies.
That’s it for this week’s Rootabaga folks. I hope some of these ideas are helpful as you look through your produce bag this week. Thank you for joining me!
See you next week,